Music's Untapped Market — Games [06/09/01]

With modern and classical music prevalent in movies, commercials and television shows, it seems that the only frontier left wholly exploited is the videogame industry. While some artists have started to make the move, allowing their music to show up as background music, more could profit from this move. With numerous major consoles and an even wider fan base in the gaming market, musicians could bring their music to people who don't normally hear it.

While there hasn't be a total void of modern music, it has only managed to crop up in certain places. In 1995, Psygnosis' Krazy Ivan featured tracks from techno acts Cold Storage and Stasis, and in 1996, they managed to get acts such as Prodigy, Photek, Chemical Brothers and Future Sound of London to add tracks to their futuristic racer, Wipeout XL. The over-violent game Loaded featured instrumental remixes from Pop Will Eat Itself's Dos Dedos Mis Amigos. Also in 1996, music for the game Jet Moto was heavily influenced by the surf rock of Dick Dale.

Games based on movies have had the fortune of sharing the same volume of music, especially the Star Wars games, which have given electronic renditions of John Williams' classic themes. Also, with the arrival of the Tomb Raider Movie, music and games take a full circle. During their PopMart Tour, the rock band U2 used computer generated (CG) full-rendered movies (FMV) of Tomb Raider's Lara Croft in action. For the movie, U2 provided a remix of their song Elevation for the soundtrack, thus proving that music and games can work together. Also along these lines, Fear Factory provide a track for the game Demolition Racer. Within this same game is a hidden music video for the heavy metal band.

While this concept is not totally foreign, popular American artists may have yet to catch on. In Japan, though, female artists have lent their voices to tracks for the last two Final Fantasy games (8 and 9). While American pop stars may find this beneath themselves, they might want to keep in mind that the previous three FF games have sold around 3 million copies each.

Even if that idea may not be enticing to produce new and original work, lesser known artists could profit by placing tracks in fighting or racing games. The exposure would work as well as any advertising. Let's be honest, the same people who buy games buy modern pop and rock music. All they need to know is what bands sound like. What would be better than listening to something you might like while playing a game? And gamers like music and musicians like games... See my point.

-- Kinderfeld

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